ACTS – Chapter
verses for this week: Eph
3:17 That Christ may
dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in
love, Eph 3:19 And to
know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be
filled with all the fulness of God.
Introduction: In Chapter 8, we saw the intense persecution come
down on the church as members were scattered into many remote areas.
This was all in God’s plan to see the Gospel expand to the
‘outer regions’ beyond Jerusalem and Judea.
We saw Simon, the sorcerer, make a profession of faith in
Christ, but the apostles knew he was still lost when he tried to pay
them money to have the power to give out the Holy Ghost by the
laying on the hands. The
chapter closed with Philip witnessing to the eunuch from Ethiopia,
and this man turned to Christ and was saved.
We begin this week with Saul going before the high priest to
obtain letters to go to Damascus and to bind men or women who were
followers of Christ.
9:1 And Saul, yet
breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of
the Lord, went unto the high priest,
9:2 And desired of him
letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this
way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto
As we found in Chapter 8, Saul is out persecuting the
disciples of Christ. He
truly believed he was doing God a favor to attack anyone who named
the name of Christ. Saul
(as did many of the Jews) had a great zeal for the Lord, but not
according to knowledge.
Rom 10:1 Brethren, my
heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be
Rom 10:2 For I bear them
record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Phil 3:6 Concerning
zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in
the law, blameless.
Phil 3:7 But what things
were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Phil 3:8 Yea doubtless,
and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all
things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Phil 3:9 And be found in
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but
that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which
is of God by faith:
We know later in life, after being saved, Paul seemed to never
forgive himself for persecuting the church.
1 Cor 15:9 For I am the
least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Cor 15:10 But by the
grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon
me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all:
yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Gal 1:13 For ye have
heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how
that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
I think all of us can learn from Paul that no matter what we have
done in our lives, when we come to Christ and determine to serve
God, there is no telling what God may be able to do with us.
Here is the man who called himself the chief of sinners, but
perhaps no man ever did more for the cause of Christ once Christ
died on the cross.
9:3 And as he
journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round
about him a light from heaven:
9:4 And he fell to the
earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me?
9:5 And he said, Who
art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:
it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
9:6 And he trembling
and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the
Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be
told thee what thou must do.
We see that Paul meets Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.
He heard the voice of the Lord saying “Why persecutest thou
me?” We need to
understand that when we go against the church, we are going against
Jesus Christ. When
we speak negatively of a brother or sister in the Lord, this is a
child of God, and the church is very near and dear to Christ.
It was for us and for
the church that he died.
Acts 20:28 Take heed
therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the
Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which
he hath purchased with his own blood.
Paul asks “Who art thou?”, and Jesus tells him that it is He
whom be persecutest. We
know that the name Jesus means “savior”, and Jesus is the Savior
to all who come unto Him.
In a dream, the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph, Mary’s husband
before Christ was born.
Mat 1:20 But while he
thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto
him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take
unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of
the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:21 And she shall
bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall
save his people from their sins.
Saul asked the Lord what He would have him to do.
Christ tells him that he would receive instruction after he
entered into Damascus. Every
man and woman saved by Christ should seek to do the very will of
God. When we ask,
God answers us by His guiding Spirit and by the Word of God.
When we know that will which is always in accordance with the
Bible, we should go all out with all our heart to fulfill the will
of God in our lives.
Col 3:23 And whatsoever
ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Col 3:24 Knowing that of
the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye
serve the Lord Christ.
There is no doubt in my mind that when Jesus sought out Saul on the
road to Damascus, he was saved that day.
In every account of his spiritual conversion, Paul always
goes back to the day he met Jesus on this road.
Acts 22:6 And it came to
pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus
about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round
Acts 22:7 And I fell
unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me?
Acts 22:8 And I
answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of
Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
Acts 26:12 Whereupon as
I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief
Acts 26:13 At midday, O
king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of
the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Acts 26:14 And when we
were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and
saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it
is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Acts 26:15 And I said,
Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
9:7 And the men which
journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no
9:8 And Saul arose from
the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they
led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9:9 And he was three
days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
We have a record here how that Saul was suddenly blind after
encountering the great light and his meeting with Jesus Christ.
So many are blind to the gospel today, and think that they
are seeing clearly. Saul
for the first time in his life now had true spiritual vision, but
his physical eyes could no longer see.
Perhaps God used this blindness to bring him to a point of
total reliance on the Lord. One
of the great men of God of old once commented that God can never
really use a man until he is broken with some great malady or
situation in his life. When
we are totally broken, we truly only have one way to look, and that
is up. When we are flat
on our backs, sometimes this is the time when God can use us greater
than any other time. We
all need to get a vertical view of things… looking up to the Lord
for strength and guidance. Satan
wants us to keep our horizontal view, which is just looking at
things from the earthly perspective.
Charles Spurgeon said: “Paul was a great man and I have no
doubt that on the way to Damascus he rode a very high horse.
But a few seconds sufficed to alter the man.
How soon God brought him down.”
We need to know that we are just clay in the potter’s hand,
and in ourselves we are truly nothing.
Saul found it out here on this remote section of road.
Saul could not see, so the men lead him into the city of Damascus
where he was to await for someone to come and tell him what great
things God would have Paul do in his life.
In verse 7, it tells us that the men with Saul heard a voice,
but saw no man. Since
Paul could understand the Hebrew tongue, Christ spoke to him in this
tongue and none of the others understood the words.
Acts 22:9 And they that
were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard
not the voice of him that spake to me.
Acts 26:14 And when we
were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and
saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it
is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O
king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
9:10 And there was a
certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the
Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
9:11 And the Lord said
unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight,
and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus:
for, behold, he prayeth,
9:12 And hath seen in a
vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him,
that he might receive his sight.
9:13 Then Ananias
answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he
hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
9:14 And here he hath
authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
9:15 But the Lord said
unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my
name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
9:16 For I will show
him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
We see a man named Ananias who was tender to the calling of the
Lord. God tells him to
go to the street called Straight and to find the man named Saul who
was praying to God. Saul
had done much evil to the saints there in Jerusalem, and he was a
known enemy of every Christian.
Ananias asks the Lord if he should really go.
We know that Saul had letters of authority from the high
priest to bring back Christians bound to Jerusalem where they would
be imprisoned, and some put to death.
I’m sure you and I would have questioned God about going to
a known enemy of the Lord ourselves.
But God answers, and tells him that Saul is praying, not
harming Christians now. And
Saul had been chosen of God to bear His name before the Gentiles,
and to kings, and to the children of Israel.
Paul was chosen to suffer for the cause of Christ.
Perhaps no one ever suffered more (with the exception of
Jesus himself) for God’s work.
2 Cor 11:21 I speak as
concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit
whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
2 Cor 11:22 Are they
Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of
Abraham? so am I.
2 Cor 11:23 Are they
ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more
abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in
2 Cor 11:24 Of the Jews
five times received I forty stripes save one.
2 Cor 11:25 Thrice was I
beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a
night and a day I have been in the deep;
2 Cor 11:26 In
journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in
perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils
in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in
perils among false brethren;
2 Cor 11:27 In weariness
and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in
fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
2 Cor 11:28 Beside those
things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care
of all the churches.
When I stop and look at what Paul faced in his life, I realize that
I’ve done nothing in comparison for God.
God help us to use Paul’s example, and let it fire us up to
be dedicated and effective disciples for Jesus Christ.
is Filled with the Spirit and Baptized
9:17 And Ananias went
his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him
said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in
the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy
sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
9:18 And immediately
there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received
sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
9:19 And when he had
received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with
the disciples which were at Damascus.
Ananias does what God instructed him to do, and he comes and laid
his hands on Saul, and his eyes were opened and he received his
sight and was filled with the Holy Ghost.
What a joy it must have been to have his eyesight back, and
now to have both physical and spiritual sight.
After this, it says that he was baptized.
Notice how that it is always the Will of God for all who are
saved to be spiritually baptized.
We know that around 3,000 people were saved on the day of
Pentecost, and afterwards they were all baptized.
Acts 2:41 Then they that
gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were
added unto them about three thousand souls.
So many today are confused as to the part baptism plays in
truth, it has nothing to do with salvation.
We are saved when we see our lost condition before God, the
Holy Spirit draws us to God, and we repent of our sins
and ask Christ to come in and forgive us of our sins.
Baptism is one of two church ordinances that we follow (the
Lord’s Supper being the second), and it is our entrance way into
becoming a member of the church.
All people who are saved are in the family of God, but only
those scripturally baptized believers are in the church.
After Paul received his sight and was baptized, it says he received
food and was strengthened.
Paul Preaches in Damascus
9:20 And straightway he
preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
9:21 But all that heard
him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which
called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent,
that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
9:22 But Saul increased
the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at
Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
We see that Saul goes right into the place where the Jews gathered
to worship God, and he preaches unto them Christ. What a change from his earlier position of hating Christians
and being against Jesus Christ.
Now he proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God.
The disciples are still very fearful of Saul, knowing what he
had done in the past. I’m
sure at first they must have thought that it could be a trick to
lure them out, but afterwards, they were amazed and thankful to see
him on their side and proclaiming Jesus as the answer to men’s
troubled souls. How
was it that Saul could prove that this was the very Christ, the one
that came from God? He
did it by taking the Old Testament scriptures and showing them how
he was the one who had come according to the scriptures at the very
time God chose.
1 Th 5:21 Prove all
things; hold fast that which is good.
We can prove things by studying the bible, and seeing if what
is taught is true or not. Many
claim authority to do things in God’s name, but we need to be sure
that it all is in harmony with the scriptures.
Jesus was the very Son of God, and the bible clearly provides
us the facts by prophecy to prove that He is the Messiah.
9:23 And after that
many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:
9:24 But their laying
await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to
9:25 Then the disciples
took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
Saul became quite popular for his stand for Jesus, right?
No, standing up
and proclaiming Jesus has never been popular with the world, and the
Jews hated Saul for doing this.
It says they plotted to put him to death. When we preach the Gospel, we divide people.
Some will hear the truth and be saved, the others will be
pricked in the heart and will rebel against us.
Man’s pride does not want us to admit that we are lost and
undone, and that we in ourselves can not do anything about it.
The world teaches that if you put your mind to it, you can
accomplish almost anything. That is why so many work so hard to please God.
But when it comes to salvation, we must all become humble
servants, and give up on ourselves, and turn to the only sinless
one, Jesus Christ, and he will abundantly pardon and saved.
Our works are as filthy rags before God, and we have nothing
to offer on our own to God in regards to forgiveness of sin.
Isa 64:6 But we are all
as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind,
have taken us away.
Isa 64:7 And there is
none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take
hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed
us, because of our iniquities.
The Jews were so against Saul that they stayed at it night and day
to come up with a plan to put him to death.
We need to know that we as Christians fight against more than
flesh and blood, but evil in high places and principalities.
Would it not be wonderful if Christians were as determined as these
Jews were in their evil, to do good and to accomplish the work of
the Lord. The
disciples who had been earlier afraid of Saul, now help him to
escape this plot by lowering him down the wall in a basket.
Saul Visits Jerusalem
9:26 And when Saul was
come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but
they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a
9:27 But Barnabas took
him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he
had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how
he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
9:28 And he was with
them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
9:29 And he spake
boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the
Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
Saul travels down to Jerusalem and joins in with the disciples.
Many were very fearful of him (for good reason), but Barnabas
goes before him and tells of all that he had done and how Saul had
preached the gospel boldly there in Damascus.
Before Saul went to Jerusalem, he made a trip to Arabia where
he received a special revelation of Jesus Christ.
Christ truly taught Paul, and it was a supernatural
Gal 1:11 But I certify you,
brethren, that the gospel
which was preached of me is not after man.
Gal 1:12 For I neither
received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation
of Jesus Christ.
Gal 1:15 But when it
pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me
by his grace,
Gal 1:16 To reveal his
Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I
conferred not with flesh and blood:
Gal 1:17 Neither went I
up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went
into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Gal 1:18 Then after
three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him
Saul Returns to Tarsus
9:30 Which when the
brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth
9:31 Then had the
churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and
were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the
comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
We see that after
Saul got saved, the churches had rest.
They now walked in the fear of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit
comforted them, and they multiplied.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father
will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the
world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.
It appears that
Paul remained in Tarsus until the sought by Barnabas and brought to
Antioch out of which church Paul became a missionary.
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And
it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain
prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called
Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up
with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost
said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have
The Healing of Aeneas
9:32 And it came to
pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to
the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
9:33 And there he found
a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and
was sick of the palsy.
9:34 And Peter said
unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make
thy bed. And he arose immediately.
9:35 And all that dwelt
at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.
We see that in
verse 34, that it was Jesus Christ who healed the man.
This miracle affected many, and they turned to the Lord.
While you and I don’t have the power to lay hands on people
and heal them today, we know that by prayer people can and still are
healed. But the works
we do, still have an affect on others, and by our actions, we can
draw people to God or turn them away.
In 1855, Edward
Kimball led one of his Sunday School boys to the Lord.
This was not all that unusual, but who would have thought
this young man, Dwight L. Moody, would ever grow up to become the
leading evangelist of the day. None of us knows the positive effect the salvation of a
soul will have on an individual and their family down through the
years. Thank God
for all the Christians who came before us who weren’t afraid to
stand up for the name of Jesus.
You and I most likely would not know the Lord had not been
for the faithfulness of someone in the past.
Tabitha is Raised from the Dead
9:36 Now there was at
Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is
called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which
9:37 And it came to
pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had
washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
9:38 And forasmuch as
Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was
there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not
delay to come to them.
9:39 Then Peter arose
and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the
upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing
the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
9:40 But Peter put them
all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body
said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw
Peter, she sat up.
9:41 And he gave her
his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and
widows, presented her alive.
9:42 And it was known
throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
9:43 And it came to
pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
It says that this woman, Tabitha, was a woman known for her many
good deeds. What a
great ability Christ gave these early apostles.
Oh that we could go out and raise the dead, give sight to the
blind, heal those who are sick.
But God still has given us that most important ability, and
that is to preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world.
Many came and believed at the raising of this woman from the
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4:18 But the path of
the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto
the perfect day.
Random Acts of Kindness. Each
act spreads, and many will be blessed.